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bit1

[bit] /bɪt/
noun
1.
Machinery.
  1. a removable drilling or boring tool for use in a brace, drill press, or the like.
  2. a removable boring head used on certain kinds of drills, as a rock drill.
  3. a device for drilling oil wells or the like, consisting of a horizontally rotating blade or an assembly of rotating toothed wheels.
2.
the mouthpiece of a bridle, having fittings at each end to which the reins are fastened.
3.
anything that curbs or restrains.
4.
the blade or iron of a carpenter's plane.
5.
the cutting part of an ax or hatchet.
6.
the wide portion at the end of an ordinary key that moves the bolt.
verb (used with object), bitted, bitting.
7.
to put a bit in the mouth of (a horse).
8.
to curb or restrain with, or as with, a bit.
9.
to grind a bit on (a key).
Idioms
10.
take the bit in / between one's teeth, to cast off control; willfully go one's own way:
He took the bit in his teeth and acted against his parents' wishes.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English bite, Old English: action of biting; cognate with German Biss, Old Norse bit. See bite
Related forms
bitless, adjective

bit2

[bit] /bɪt/
noun
1.
a small piece or quantity of anything:
a bit of string.
2.
a short time:
Wait a bit.
3.
Informal. an amount equivalent to 12½ U.S. cents (used only in even multiples):
two bits; six bits.
4.
an act, performance, or routine:
She's doing the Camille bit, pretending to be near collapse.
5.
a stereotypic or habitual set of behaviors, attitudes, or styles associated with an individual, role, situation, etc.:
the whole Wall Street bit.
6.
Also called bit part. a very small role, as in a play or motion picture, containing few or no lines.
Compare walk-on (def 1).
7.
any small coin:
a threepenny bit.
8.
a Spanish or Mexican silver real worth 12½ cents, formerly current in parts of the U.S.
Idioms
9.
a bit, rather or somewhat; a little:
a bit sleepy.
10.
a bit much, somewhat overdone or beyond tolerability.
11.
bit by bit, by degrees; gradually:
Having saved money bit by bit, they now had enough to buy the land.
12.
do one's bit, to contribute one's share to an effort:
They all did their bit during the war.
13.
every bit, quite; just:
every bit as good.
14.
quite a bit, a fairly large amount:
There's quite a bit of snow on the ground.
Origin
before 1000; Middle English bite, Old English bita bit, morsel; cognate with German Bissen, Old Norse biti. See bite
Synonyms
1. particle, speck, grain, mite; whit, iota, jot; scrap, fragment.

bit3

[bit] /bɪt/
noun, Computers.
1.
Also called binary digit. a single, basic unit of information, used in connection with computers and information theory.
2.
baud.
Origin
1945-50; b(inary) + (dig)it

bit4

[bit] /bɪt/
verb
1.
simple past tense and a past participle of bite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for bits
  • The pattern in the plywood valences was created with drill bits in varying sizes.
  • These biscotti are crumbly delivery systems for chewy apricot bits, hunks of dark chocolate, and crunchy almonds.
  • Irregular bits and shredded pieces knit together so it stays in place.
  • Tumbled pottery bits with rounded edges are sturdy enough to walk on and settle nicely on the ground.
  • When my bare hands emerged from scraping the last bits off the press, they were royal purple.
  • Then the honey is strained through a filter to remove any bits of comb.
  • The day is spent pecking up tasty bits, hopping on the hens, and defending them.
  • Celery tastes tastes where in curled lashes and little bits and mostly in remains.
  • During the winter he read to her all of the odds and ends of thoughts he had scribbled on the bits of paper.
  • Next day she again went out with her goat, and left the few bits of broken bread which had been handed to her, lying untouched.
British Dictionary definitions for bits

bit1

/bɪt/
noun
1.
a small piece, portion, or quantity
2.
a short time or distance
3.
(US & Canadian, informal) the value of an eighth of a dollar: spoken of only in units of two two bits
4.
any small coin
5.
short for bit part
6.
(informal) way of behaving, esp one intended to create a particular impression she's doing the prima donna bit
7.
a bit, rather; somewhat a bit dreary
8.
a bit of
  1. rather a bit of a dope
  2. a considerable amount that must take quite a bit of courage
9.
(Brit, slang) a bit of all right, a bit of crumpet, a bit of stuff, a bit of tail, a sexually attractive woman
10.
bit by bit, gradually
11.
(informal) bit on the side, an extramarital affair
12.
do one's bit, to make one's expected contribution
13.
(foll by as) every bit, to the same degree she was every bit as clever as her brother
14.
not a bit, not a bit of it, not in the slightest; not at all
15.
to bits, completely apart to fall to bits
Word Origin
Old English bite action of biting; see bite

bit2

/bɪt/
noun
1.
a metal mouthpiece, for controlling a horse on a bridle
2.
anything that restrains or curbs
3.
take the bit in one's teeth, take the bit between one's teeth, have the bit in one's teeth, have the bit between one's teeth
  1. to undertake a task with determination
  2. to rebel against control
4.
a cutting or drilling tool, part, or head in a brace, drill, etc
5.
the blade of a woodworking plane
6.
the part of a pair of pincers designed to grasp an object
7.
the copper end of a soldering iron
8.
the part of a key that engages the levers of a lock
verb (transitive) bits, bitting, bitted
9.
to put a bit in the mouth of (a horse)
10.
to restrain; curb
Word Origin
Old English bita; related to Old English bītan to bite

bit3

/bɪt/
verb
1.
the past tense and (archaic) past participle of bite

bit4

/bɪt/
noun (maths, computing)
1.
a single digit of binary notation, represented either by 0 or by 1
2.
the smallest unit of information, indicating the presence or absence of a single feature
3.
a unit of capacity of a computer, consisting of an element of its physical structure capable of being in either of two states, such as a switch with on and off positions, or a microscopic magnet capable of alignment in two directions
Word Origin
C20: from abbreviation of binary digit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bits
bit
related O.E. words bite "act of biting," and bita "piece bitten off," are probably the source of the modern words meaning "boring-piece of a drill" (1590s), "mouthpiece of a horse's bridle" (mid-14c.), and "a piece bitten off, morsel" (c.1000). All from P.Gmc. *biton (cf. O.S. biti, O.N. bit, O.Fris. bite, M.Du. bete, O.H.G. bizzo, Ger. Bissen "bit, morsel"), from PIE base *bheid- "to split" (see fissure). Meaning "small piece, fragment" is from c.1600. Theatrical bit part is from 1926. Money sense in two bits, six bits, etc. is originally from Southern U.S. and West Indies, in ref. to silver wedges cut or stamped from Sp. dollars (later Mexican reals); transferred to "eighth of a dollar."
bit
computerese word, 1948 abbreviation (coined by J.W. Tukey) of binary digit, probably chosen for its identity with bit (1).
bit
past tense of bite.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bits in Science
bit
  (bĭt)   
The smallest unit of computer memory. A bit holds one of two possible values, either of the binary digits 0 or 1. The term comes from the phrase binary digit. See Note at byte.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bits in Culture

bit definition


The smallest unit of information. One bit corresponds to a “yes” or “no.” Some examples of a bit of information: whether a light is on or off, whether a switch (like a transistor) is on or off, whether a grain of magnetized iron points up or down.

Note: The information in a digital computer is stored in the form of bits.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for bits

bit

adjective

Disappointed and resentful •Perhaps the same semantics as mid-1800s bit, ''cheated'' (1970s+ Teenagers)

noun
  1. A prison sentence: Ferrati, whose ''bit'' was three to seven years (1860+ Underworld)
  2. (also bit part) A small part in a play or other show (1900s+ Theater)
  3. A display of pretended feeling or an outright imitation; act, shtick: So he does his hurt-puppy-dog bit/ You should see my Jimmy Cagney bit (fr theater)
  4. A person's particular set of attitudes, reactions, behavior patterns, etc; style; lifestyle; thing: Zen never was my real bit (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)
Related Terms

four-bit, six-bit, two-bit


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for bits

BITS

building integrated timing supply

bit

binary digit

BIT

built in test
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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bits in the Bible

the curb put into the mouths of horses to restrain them. The Hebrew word (metheg) so rendered in Ps. 32:9 is elsewhere translated "bridle" (2 Kings 19:28; Prov. 26:3; Isa. 37:29). Bits were generally made of bronze or iron, but sometimes also of gold or silver. In James 3:3 the Authorized Version translates the Greek word by "bits," but the Revised Version by "bridles."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with bits
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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6
7
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